DGCA clears air on ticket codes

Fees Named After Alphabets Come Under Scanner

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The odd alphabetical pairings have left the Directorate General of Civil Aviation scratching its head on alphabets parings like JN, WO, YQ and XT which added to the base fare, sends the airfare sky-high. The issue of lack of transparency in air tariffs was brought up this month by Sudhakara Reddy in the first ever meeting of the Civil Aviation Economic Advisory Council. A member of the body and the president of rights group Air Passengers Association of India, Reddy illustrated the foggy and discrepant tariffs with the help of two Delhi-Chennai sector tickets. 

The first—a December 14 Jet Konnect ticket—came at a base fare of Rs 2,250, but cost Reddy Rs 6,282 because of the mysterious heads of IN, JN and XT in between. 

The other, more transparent, ticket bought on IndiGo Airlines for the same date coupled the base fare with the fuel charge to give an initial price of Rs 5,319. It then added passenger service fee (Rs 229), transaction charge (Rs 500), service tax (Rs 103) and user development fee (Rs 200), forcing the final tariff to balloon to Rs 6,351. 

 “No one can understand the code language used by some airlines to indicate the charges. Putting out a clear list of taxes and charges is the least that a passenger can expect,” Reddy said. 

Though gobbledygook on the ticket, the lingo is demystified on Jet Airways’ website. According to the site, JN stands for service tax, WO for passenger service fee and IN for user development fee. 

Director general of civil aviation Bharat Bhushan said: “We are looking into the issue.” 
Reddy also criticized IndiGo for charging a transaction fee for tickets bought online—a practice also followed by Spice Jet and Go Air, though Go Air calls its merely “services”. Aside from the transaction fee, Go Air passengers also need to pay Rs 129 as insurance fee. 

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